Kuba Kubiszyn, family solicitor in Colchester and Sudbury, discusses the challenges facing couples starting the process of financial settlement involving a farm – otherwise known as a farming divorce.
Whilst the breakdown of a marriage is always challenging, divorce financial settlements involving a farm are often even more difficult to resolve. In England and Wales, dealing with farm assets requires careful consideration of legal, emotional, and financial aspects. It is therefore important to instruct a solicitor with experience in dealing with these matters.
The likely first step will be to value the land, livestock, machinery, and potential future revenue. Experts will often be instructed to assist with such valuations to ensure that the values provided are reliable. Once the value of the farm is known, other factors will need to be considered.
Complexities of financial settlements involving a farm involve:
The above will need to be considered together with the standard factors of section 25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 to figure out an appropriate resolution. It is important that any settlement takes into consideration the long-term viability of the farm post-divorce. Addressing issues such as access to land, ongoing financial responsibilities and potential business restructuring is key to a more sustainable future for both parties.
With regards to division of assets, there are several ways in which this can be dealt with, depending on individual circumstances. These include a buyout, outright sale, transfer of ownership or business restructuring.
Not unlike other assets, farms can be protected by a qualified nuptial agreement. If you are about to get married, it is important to consider a prenuptial agreement. If you are already married, you may enter into a post-nuptial agreement.
If you have assets you would like to protect from divorce, including farming assets, it is important to seek legal advice from a specialist divorce solicitor with experience in dealing with the assets in question.
Dealing with a farm requires a strategic and comprehensive approach. From asset valuation to future planning, our expert family solicitors can guide you through the process to help you achieve a fair and sustainable resolution.
Partner, and head of the Family Law department, Carol Toulson, is part of our specialist High Net Worth team with extensive experience in dealing with complex, high value financial settlements.